SAN LUIS VALLEY - Twenty new cases for the SLV have been reported since Friday, 6/19, sixteen from Alamosa County, 1 each from Conejos and Costilla, and 2 from Rio Grande County. The total number of cumulative cases is now 371. Twenty-nine total people have been hospitalized, and 257 have completed isolation. Today Rio Grande County confirmed their first fatality. There have been 6 fatalities of individuals with COVID-19. There are currently approximately 108 active cases in the Region. Numbers are updated weekdays at slvemergency.org/slv-covid-19/.
While numbers can be useful, sometimes they can be misinterpreted, especially if not all factors and variables are considered in applying calculations. Case rate is one example. In the San Luis Valley, our population numbers are too low to accurately calculate the case rate in comparison to other areas of the State. Without a robust (large) base of numbers, it is difficult to make statistical determinations that can support certain conclusions, and the data can easily be skewed. It can feel frustrating to not have a clear way to compare our area with other areas of the State, but it is important to avoid making false assumptions.
For those who examine the case data information the State puts out (at https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/case-data), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) confirms that caution should be used when interpreting rates in counties with small populations. “In smaller populations with fewer cases, there is not enough information to make a valid comparison [to counties with larger populations].”
From an Epidemiology standpoint, it is important to monitor locations of outbreaks, especially in places like Long Term Care Facilities, where our most vulnerable populations could be disproportionately affected. However, for the general public, rather than targeting and staying away from a specific location or business, the best strategy to avoid infection is to assume the virus could be anywhere, anyone can have it, and even you yourself may be infectious and take precautions. The major cause of outbreaks is community spread, and many of the workplaces and facilities affected have employees moving back and forth between them as well as to other places in the community.
Wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and social distancing are the gold standards for avoiding infection. However, there are also other methods you can use to keep safe. One way is to patronize and support businesses that have implemented precautions to keep people safe, and avoid those that have not. Voting with your dollar is one of the best ways to incentivize policy and behavior change.
For questions about testing or for medical advice, please contact your primary care doctor or call one of the numbers below to start the screening process:
For symptomatic individuals only, call:
Rio Grande Hospital 719-657-4990
SLVHealth Respiratory Clinic 719-589-2511 ext. 9
For symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals who have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual, call:
Valley-Wide Health Systems 719-589-3658 ext. 9 (M-F), 719-589-2562 (Sa/Su)
This week’s testing clinics:
La Jara, Tuesday, 6/23. Please call for an appointment: 719-587-2901.
Center, Wednesday, 6/24. Please call for an appointment: 719-587-2888.
For general (non-medical) SLV COVID-19 related questions: firstname.lastname@example.org, 719-480-8719
This is a difficult time for many people. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please don’t hesitate to ask for support: